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Day 44: A small big win

November 27, 2023


In 2014 I was a contributor for a book on Influencing Strategies. The book was “The Small Big”, and was about tiny, seemingly inconsequential things that can have an enormous impact on people’s decisions and the way relationships develop.

I’ve always been fascinated by the difference seemingly small things can make…a word said a particular way, a nod or hand gesture…the list is infinite…with each tiny thing being a cog. No matter how small, a single turn shifts the bigger cog and the whole mechanism shifts.

For me, the small change was the commitment I made yesterday – to refrain from saying judgemental or negative things for 7 days – and if I do say something, the clock restarts. I’ve restarted the clock multiple times in the last 24 hours and have only got about 5 hours under my belt since the last restart…BUT…

My focus on it was enough to make the difference in a situation that otherwise had the capacity to cause a great big storm in our home.

To tell you all about it, I’d have to share things with you that aren’t mine to share so I’ll simply share the learning that’s come out of it for me and how it relates to my little joy quest.

What does this have to do with Joy?

The way I handled the situation changed something fundamental in my relationship with one of my kids, something that has been eating me alive for years and that I haven’t been able to figure out how to manage. 

That sounds dramatic but that’s the nature of the mind when its in turmoil and, with this particular issue, my mind has tortured me. 

To be fair, today felt pretty torturous anyway as I had to work incredibly hard to find curiosity rather than judgement, and to figure out how to broach the subject in a way that invited an open, relaxed, logical conversation.

I normally listen to podcasts and books when I exercise or while I’m driving but I’ve spent the entire day in silence with mind taking such pains to adjust itself. 

But after all of that grappling, I think I’ve handled things in a way that made a positive difference and I feel an immense joy where the alternative would almost certainly have ended in tears.

It might take me a very long time to get a 7 day streak of non-judgemental words, but today has shown me that the intention to get there is, on its own, enough to begin making a difference.   

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